Regional Director of the Department of Health (DOH) in Mimaropa Eduardo C. Janairo has ordered the immediate delivery of requested medicines and medical supplies to Quezon, Palawan, to prevent the further increase of acute gastroenteritis (AGE), or diarrhea, in selected barangays.
Mimaropa groups the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.
“Although the cases are now declining, we are still continuing disease surveillance and directly in coordination with the local and provincial health offices in case diarrhea cases in the affected barangays will again rise,” Janairo said.
“The best thing to do right now is for the residents to seek medical checkup once they experience abdominal pain, dehydration and having watery stool so that they can be given the immediate medical response needed,” he said.
As of September 18, 2017, the Quezon Rural Health Unit (RHU) reported a total of 644 AGE cases. There are 358 cases admitted at Quezon Medicare Hospital (QMH), 233 cases at the Quezon Municipal Health Office (MHO) and 53 cases at Luke Society Clinic.
Based on the merged data from Quezon RHU and Palawan Provincial Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (PESU) from July 4 to September 18, 2017, most affected barangays are Alfonso XII and Pinaglabanan. The diarrhea cases are 79 percent higher compared to the historical average recorded for the last four years, which is on an average of 359 cases from 2013 to 2016.
Half of diarrhea cases reported were from 18 years old and below, affecting mostly 1 to 10 years old. The majority of the cases were female. The result of the water source assessment conducted in the municipality of Quezon by the Palawan Epidemiology, Surveillance and Statistics Unit (PESSU) on September 19 and 20, said most of the water sources, systems and refilling stations do not comply with the necessary health and sanitation requirements. E. coli and amoeba are also present in some of the water source.
Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery stools. It can be acute, which lasts for two to three days, or chronic, which is the result of a viral or bacterial infection and can last for weeks.
“Proper hygiene is the best prevention against diarrhea. Clean drinking water is also important. Frequent hand washing with soap and water prevents the spread of infection. Use hand sanitizer if possible,” Janairo said.